Big or small, there’s one thing all cruise ships have in common and that’s a belief in the importance healthy food and staying fit. Every cruise ship buffet offers a huge choice of dishes from around the world and within their expansive menus, there are always plenty of healthy options to choose from. When it comes to keeping fit at sea, the majority of cruise lines operate ships which come equipped with state-of-the-art gyms, not mention all manner of sports facilities and activities designed to keep cruisers healthy. With that in mind, here are seven tips to help you stay healthy at sea.

Know your buffet

7 tips for the health-concious cruiser

You’ve perhaps heard the tales and words of wisdom from those who’ve cruised when it comes to eating at sea. “You’ll put on a stone” or “I stuffed myself silly every night”. The truth is, it’s good fun on your first night (or two) to go for broke and pile your plate high (numerous times), but if you’re any kind of health conscious you’ll soon be looking for ways to eat more healthily. Buffets offer plenty of everything, which means it’s easy to assemble a healthy meal from the wealth of food on offer. Green salads, Mediterranean salads, olives and fresh vegetables are all common fixtures and it’s not just burgers and ribs when it comes to meat, with fresh seafood and fat-free cuts also available.

A top class treat

Everyone should treat themselves to a signature dining night one during their cruise and as well as being a pleasurable culinary experience, it’s usually a healthy one too, with refined menus offering expertly prepared dishes and health-conscious options.

Seek out the spa

7 tips for the health-concious cruiser

Spa treatments are a popular cruise fixture and while they’re rarely available for free, they’re a great way to feel better about yourself and importantly, stay away from the buffet or poolside grill on sea days. A host of well-being treatments are available to improve your health and relax your body, while a number of spas at sea also boast health-conscious, low-calorie menus. The Canyon Ranch Spa on board Cunard’s Queen Mary II and all Oceania’s  vessels is a good example and one of the most respected healthy-option dining venues at sea, while Celebrity Cruises’ spa areas also offer healthy menus. Royal Caribbean also offers a low-calorie menu in the Solarium Café on-board its Oasis class vessels, where every dish is guaranteed to be 500 calories or less.

Get with the (fitness) program

7 tips for the health-concious cruiser

Every cruise ship has a gym of some description, with many offering fully equipped state-of-the-art fitness centres which rival any centre you can visit on land. If you’re the disciplined type who likes to stick to a regular workout, you’ll have no problem replicating it at sea, with ships boasting treadmills, bikes, weight machines and all manner of free weights and exercise equipment. Many lines offer fitness programmes dedicated to your needs, with personal trainers available, while Yoga and exercise classes are often available and tailored to your needs.

Get your running shoes on

7 tips for the health-concious cruiser

If running is your thing but you like the feel of the wind in your hair rather than restricting yourself to the treadmill, you’ll be pleased to know that many cruise ships offer running tracks on deck. If a morning jog before breakfast is at the heart of your fitness plan, then what could be better than taking to the track and gazing out to sea as the sun rises?

Be a good sport

7 tips for the health-concious cruiser

If you like to keep fit by playing sports rather than taking to the gym, you’ll love feature-packed cruise ships like those operated by Royal Caribbean, P&O Cruises and Princess Cruises, which offer sports courts suitable for basketball, football and more. A number of cruise ships offer golf simulators, while good old-fashioned table tennis is also a common fixture. Of course, the swimming pool is for many people the heart of any cruise ship and though many pools are geared towards family fun, a number feature ‘endless pools’ where you can swim against a machine-generated tide and put in those lengths to your heart’s content.

Lay off the booze

7 tips for the health-concious cruiser

Yes we know, you’re on holiday. This is a difficult one and while you’ll doubtlessly want to let your hair down and take advantage of that drinks package, the truth is, alcoholic drinks will put more calories in you than you perhaps might think. So by all means, enjoy an after-dinner cocktail, providing you avoid an alcohol-based desert with it. In the evenings, try and have a couple of nights off the drink all together and you’ll enjoy it all the more when you do reward yourself.

Emma Smith
Emma has more than seven years' experience as a writer and has been in the travel industry for nearly five years. She loves learning about new places and cruise ships coming to market, as well as discovering fun and exciting activities to do while you sail. She has cruised with Princess Cruises, Cunard, Celebrity Cruises, Virgin Voyages, Avalon Waterways and Royal Caribbean and is looking to get something in her diary for 2024! Her favourite things to see on a ship include excellent entertainment, a delicious cocktail menu and extraordinary dining venues.

3 Responses to “7 tips for the health-conscious cruiser”

  1. Tex Hooper

    I like what you said about choosing fat-free cuts. I need to get a caterer for my sister’s wedding. I’ll have to consider hiring a caterer of Italian food.


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